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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1979

(Question No. 1469)

Mr Lloyd asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 31 May 1984:

(1) On how many occasions has the Taxation Office granted sales tax exemption for the Rippa pure fruit juice aerated drinks manufactured by the Ardmona Co., either in writing or verbally, and subsequently withdrawn the exemption.

(2) Why have the exemption decisions been withdrawn, in each case.

(3) Do any exemptions currently apply.

Mr Keating —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) In a letter of 19 July 1983 the Taxation Office advised the Ardmona Co. that Rippa soft drink products made by a process involving the reconstitution of fruit juice concentrates were not exempt from sales tax but taxable at the rate of 20 per cent. In a letter of 26 July 1983 the company sought advice on the classification of Rippa products made by a different manufacturing process. The contents of the letter were discussed with senior taxation officials in Canberra on 4 August 1983. Following consideration of expert technical opinion the Taxation Office advised the company on 16 February 1984 that the products were not exempt from sales tax.

On 29 July 1983 the company sought advice from the Melbourne branch of the Taxation Office on sales tax exemption for a range of Rippa products.

The letter acknowledged receipt of the earlier advice denying exemption but indicated that the company now proposed to manufacture the products from juices and not concentrates.

The Melbourne branch gave a written decision on 2 August 1983 that, on the understanding that the particular products consisted wholly of single strength natural juices of Australian fruits with preservatives added and carbonated to an extent comparable to lemonade, the products qualified for exemption.

The Melbourne branch was not made aware that the products were to be made by the particular manufacturing processes disclosed in the company's letter of 26 July 1983 or that the matter was the subject of consideration by officials in Canberra. In a letter of 12 August 1983 the company was advised that the decision of the Melbourne branch was not to be taken as granting exemption to the Rippa products which were then under discussion and about which expert advice was being sought. Following the advice of 16 February 1984 that the products were not exempt from sales tax the decision given by the Melbourne branch on 2 August 1983 was finally withdrawn.

(3) There is no sales tax exemption for carbonated soft drink products such as lemonade, cola, et cetera, including the Rippa range of carbonated soft drinks. They are taxable at the general rate of 20 per cent.